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    Family name adds to my self-worth: Soha

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Friday, October 01, 2004
    Soha Ali Khan is more classic than kitsch. And she has quite a legacy to carry on.

    "I carry my family name with me, I must admit, though not with any arrogance. But it does add to my self-worth," says Soha, the daughter of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore and the sister of Saif Ali Khan.

    At 22, she is one of the youngest girls in Bollywood, but feels quite confident about living on her own.

    "I've been all alone in Mumbai for a couple of years. I was working with Citibank until recently. It was my father's wish that I put my education to good use before going into acting if I wanted to," Soha told IANS in an interview.
    Soha Ali Khan is more classic than kitsch. And she has quite a legacy to carry on.
    "I carry my family name with me, I must admit, though not with any arrogance. But it does add to my self-worth," says Soha, the daughter of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore and the sister of Saif Ali Khan.
    At 22, she is one of the youngest girls in Bollywood, but feels quite confident about living on her own.
    "I've been all alone in Mumbai for a couple of years. I was working with Citibank until recently. It was my father's wish that I put my education to good use before going into acting if I wanted to," Soha told IANS in an interview.
    "I feel very happy with the way things are going in my film career. The idea is to do as much of a variety as possible."
    She started with a Bengali film. She says she was 'passable' in it. "It isn't as though I can't bear to look myself in it," she laughs. "But it was terrifying."
    And now she's ready to do another Bengali film with Rituparno Ghosh in September.
    "I'm not familiar with Bengali. Yes, my mom speaks it home, but only when she's angry. Although I don't know the language fluently, I can memorise the dialogues quite easily.
    "I love doing films in Bengali. The area is so rich in literature. I've such a wonderful role in Ghosh's 'Antarmahal'.
    "And then," she brightens up even more, "I've a completely new role in my first Hindi film 'Dil Maange More'. It's fun and it's young. I'm vivacious in it.
    "The challenge for me as an actress is to not get typecast. I guess I happen to be like my mother when it comes to career decisions. But she started very young. She was nine when she did her first film.
    "I've come to films comparatively quite late. Finishing my studies was quite important to my family. My father made me promise to work in Citibank for at least a year. I enjoyed it. But my heart was set on movies. I think the corporate experience helped me grow as a human being. It taught me to get on the sets on time."
    She has also signed Somnath Sen's next Hindi film.
    "It has Amitabh Bachchan in the lead. I play a musician from the US who comes to India to learn about Indian classical music. It's an interesting character. I'm also doing a film in English. It blends three of Nirmal Kumar's stories into one. Again it takes me into completely new territory."
    Though she's on her own, Soha feels the strength of her genes assert itself in the way she's treated in Bollywood. "Everyone is so protective and nice because of mom. I've met everyone and they've all been very nice."
    Dad Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, she admits, doesn't follow Indian cinema.
    "But I've seen my mom and brother's (Saif's) films. Among my brother's films, I like 'Dil Chahta Hai', 'Hum Tum' and 'Kal Ho Na Ho'... and I loved him 'Ek Hasina Thi'. He's very individualistic.
    "Amma has done, like 200 films. I liked her in 'Amar Prem', 'Aradhana' and 'Daag'."
    Soha admits they're a close-knit family. "My sister has her own jewellery business in Delhi. We see each other as often as we can. I fly down to Delhi to be with my dad, mom and sister at the slightest pretext.
    "With my mother and brother being successes, I've the family reputation to live up to. I'm very proud of my brother. He has a lot of faith in me.
    "I'm capable of looking after myself. Both my mom and me are very stubborn people. That helps me get by on my own. I don't think a single woman can be so comfortable in too many cities. I feel very safe in Mumbai. Everyone treats me with so much respect. I guess I have been lucky. But I don't think anyone will sign me just because of who I am," she says pragmatically.
    Cinema is Soha's chosen vocation for now. "I'll be around as long as I'm challenged by what I have to do," she says.


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